Here's the statement that got me, and one that, no doubt, in today's post-modern society, didn't raise an eyebrow with many who, thirty years ago would have said, 'hmmm.'.
Doctors should be the most supportive of professions when it comes to our colleagues becoming parents. We work every day with patients in difficulty and know the importance of a strong family, and yet our profession is one that makes it very difficult to balance both a working and parental role. Part time work is difficult to manage, clinical meetings and ward rounds are often held very early or after hours, and the on call work can be brutal. But we are more than doctors; we are mums and dads and wives and husbands, and we shouldn’t have to pick one or the other. We can’t do it all, and maybe we should stop trying to.
We should be the most supportive profession when it comes to our colleagues becoming parents? Why. I'll stop there for a minute because I really want an answer to that. Why should we be? So as to model good parenting for our patients? Really, that's the reason?
Shouldn't have to pick one or the other??? Why? Because you want it all? Really, why?
Since when has becoming a physician been anything less than a dog-eat-dog marathon of sleep deprivation and ladder climbing, and patient care above all else? I'm not saying it should be that or that it has to be that, but what, doc, exactly, did you think you were signing up for when you walked into first year med? I mean, did you not know about the demands of the most demanding profession? Did you expect them to be lessened for you specifically?
And Dr. Baker, it's America and you can find your bliss however you want. And I'm glad you are putting your kids first... honestly I am. But you signed on to put your patient's first. Who is taking care of them now? Your partners? Is that a good thing for your patients? For your partners? Honestly? Is it?
And what of you female residents who get pregnant in residency. Is it fair to make your colleagues, male and female, make up for your three month absence with every other night call and missed vacations? Really? And did you have to make up that lost time or did the program simply graduate you 'as is'?
Let me take you back twenty years, before the walls of medicine began to crumble, back when the shortage of physicians was beginning to have an impact.
How much sense did it make back then, when planning for twenty years down the road, to offer not just equal opportunity to female applicants to medical school, but preferential admission to medical school? And how many of those female docs twenty years ago are practicing full time?
So what, you say? So why is no one talking about this as a cause of our current physician shortage? In the name of PC feel-goodism we essentially dropped the number of full time physicians by 33% by mandating a 50/50 male-female ratio. Hell, in many med schools women outnumber the men. It doesn't last...
In my class alone four of the female graduates got pregnant and didn't even go to internship. Fair? Maybe. Smart? No, not unless the women who desire to be doctors are made to understand, up front, that full time medicine/surgery and being a mom is not realistic in many of the medical subspecialties. It should be HARDER for women to get into medical school... not grade wise, but interview wise.... Women should be put on the spot in the interview process about their desire for a medical career and not just a medical degree.
So how about it Dr. Barker. How are your partners taking your two year absence? Your patients? I can see from what you write that their reactions have surprised you. But why are you surprised? There's a question.
And at the end of the day, I do honestly wish you all the success and happiness in the world for you and your kids and in your career. I just want to point out that in order for you to have things the way you want them, you have made others pay the price for a decision you made to become a doctor, perhaps without being honest about your desire to have a family or your ability to be both a great mom and a great doctor.